Is that how you feel at networking events? Yet another stranger, approved with whom you firmly believe you have nothing in common, approved has thrust their business card at you, smiling expectantly and asking “Shall we meet for coffee?” all you can think is, “great, another business card to add to the pile. Another wasted networking event.” And you’d be right.
If all you see them as is a pile of business cards, that is. If all you do when you get back to the office is what the majority of business owners do and put them in an ever-growing stack of cards in your bottom drawer / box on your desk / follow-up tray then you have wasted your time at that event, and many others no doubt.
I once heard a great quote, from Rob Brown of The Networking Coaching Academy that he didn’t really start to benefit from his many hours of networking, until he “stopped counting conversations and started making conversations count” and he agrees that the same is true for business cards. You can collect hundreds or even thousands of business cards during your time networking, but until you start to make them work for you, they’re worthless.
Here are my top three tips to making those business cards start to count:
1.Put the details of every business card you collect into a well developed software database (your CRM system) and USE the system to start and build a business connection with that contact.
2.Let go of some assumptions, especially the idea that “I have no chance of doing business with this person” and “I can’t believe I have anything in common with a ***” and start instead to ask yourself, “I wonder what I have in common with a *** that could help both of us in business” or “I wonder which of my clients would do business with a great ***”
3.Take a look at your own business card and ask yourself how delighted you’d be to receive it? Would you take it seriously? Would you be clear what it is that your business does? It may be time to ask your best contacts to give you some honest feedback on your business card.
I’d love to hear how using these simple steps have helped you make the most of your business cards. Do you have a top-tip to share on making your business cards count?